The White Stripes - De Stijl

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Detroit's own 'brother and sister' drum-and-guitar duo broke out of local obscurity with their eponymous debut, a primitive garage romp that borrowed liberally from Led Zeppelin, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, various American bluesmen and other rock and roll stalwarts. With second album 'De Stijl', the band eschews its earlier raw posings in favour of blues with a hint of art rock. 'De Stijl' (literally translated, 'the style,' a European art movement that praises the virtue of simplicity in design), hints at a band that plays its music guided by simplicity in form and function. The 13 songs on 'De Stijl' show this stripped-down duo coming into their own with more complex arrangements and more varied instrumentation. 'De Stilj' features an electric violin, harmonica, and piano (played by singer Jack White). All in all, 'De Stijl' offers more dynamic range and melody than the band's debut and a (comparatively) slick production. from the confectionery pop bounce of 'You're Pretty Good Looking,' to the blues howler, 'Hello Operator,' to the dirge-like 'Death Letter,' 'De Stijl' was a massive step forward.